Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sex /The LDS church/ The Boy Scouts/ And The Strange Parallel: The Mormon Clergy's (men) Interviews Alone With Women

When I was a teenager, I acted like a teenager.

 I made out a little bit, just like most kids my age.  But I was completely clueless… Pretty much about everything.

With that said, growing up in the Mormon Church, my parents really didn’t talk about sex. Most of it was pretty taboo.

Most Mormon parents I knew didn't talk at all to their kids about sex, at least that was the impression I got from people I knew. Strangely, the guys at my school sometimes took it upon themselves to educate me (One even taught me how to swear:) One particular guy would say, "Hey Heidi, so you know what this means?" and then go into gory dirty details I didn't understand. This guy even painted a fireman in ceramics class and took it upon himself to give it to me. And the fireman had a hose in his hand. I had NO clue why he gave it to me but wondered why all the guys in class were snickering... :p

Sex ed was such a problem in my area that in the little town 15 minutes from me, they called the drill team the marching mothers...for good reason.

Sex just wasn't talked about.

So...I had to be one of the most naive girls on the planet. So much so that when I was in high school and took home ec (in my senior year mind you- that's how my Mormon school was and how little we were prepared)  for sex ed in this little Mormon town, I said penes (think of pen-es) instead of the obvious male anatomy, and my best friend wouldn’t let me live it down. She still doesn’t.  Every once in a while she takes out the p card:p 

And the day I got married I had giggling fits...I had NO idea what certain things looked like if you get my drift, which led me into more giggling fits...

I was that naive.

But I am not now.

But with that said, there have been times in my life that I feel like I have had divine help, and I am grateful…

Which leads me to this story.

I had a bishop who I would go to any time I was worried, (not to mention that in the Mormon church you are assigned a Bishop that you have to go to 2 to 3 times a year, whether you want to go or not for a personal worthiness interview- you are expected to go)

One time I felt I had made out with a boy a bit too much. 

Well I got into the bishops office, he closed the door and I told him I needed to confess what I had done (making out) well, he suddenly went into such a tirade, asking me so many questions that I could barely answer them fast enough.

Suddenly he was asking all of these very personal questions. Specifics of what I and the boy had done. 

Things I had no idea what they meant, and when I asked what they meant, he repeated some very dirty things to me, in explicit detail.

Something told me that this was VERY wrong. It got to the point where I didn’t feel safe. Everything in me was screaming, “Get out of here” ….he is getting turned on and you owe him NOTHING. I told him I wouldn’t tell him anything more and I got up and left.

My whole life I've had to have the guts to get up and leave or stand up for myself and what I believe in , father friends, bishop, doesn't matter. I may have been afraid to speak my mind, but that's never stopped me... its innate...its who I am. BUT what about people who don't or haven't been taught to stand up for themselves or to question the motives, (trust the leaders no matter what mentality that sometimes is pushed on the youth..) ESPECIALLY someone who is supposed to be protecting you? As someone who is supposed to "be an intermediary between you and God"?

What would have happened if I would have stayed?

I don’t know. But I DO know there have been cases of sexual abuse before (Example: )

Now, I don’t really know, but I feel that I was protected by something bigger I was .

I was just a naïve kid.

 Which brings me to this statement and these very good points from my friend and blogger Amy:

 “Earlier this week, the Mormon Newsroom released a statement regarding the potential end to the long-standing Boy Scouts of America (BSA)-LDS Church partnership, citing the recent decision to allow openly gay men to serve in leadership positions. 

As discussions popped up across social media, individuals in favour of the split reasoned that those who are attracted to the sex of the minors should not be in isolated situations with them. Many assured me their concerns were not due to prejudice and bigotry. In fact, they would be the same if men were to oversee and be in isolated situations with young women. (Me: WTH???ARE YOU PEOPLE BLIND TO WHAT YOU JUST SAID????)

The problem with this assertion is, of course, that LDS men are frequently in isolated situations with young women and hardly anyone bats an eye.” This is something that needs to be addressed, and yet isn’t." “

I hope someday this practice of having middle aged men interviewing girls and women changes.

Until then, the abuse of women won’t stop.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Sexualization Of Women: Crossing The Line

Being an excitable a little girl wanting to learn new things, I ended taking swimming lessons. 

One week there was a parents week, and every child could show what they learned swimming.

All the excitement ended when the instructor shoved my head underwater trying to force me to swim…and then he brought me up for air. It was terrifying. It took me many more years till I felt comfortable in the water.

But this isn’t about that.

Yet here is one thing that I felt comfortable with.

On parent’s week, my parents must have left the locker room where I as a very small girl was getting dressed.

They came out to the swimming area to parents gathered around a small child.

A very small naked child.

It was me, sans clothing.

I was NAKED.

I think it was the first time I realized it is not ok to be naked,so the adults said, as in my baby book it looks like I loved stripping. :p

Once being  little I even went to church without any underwear. I  probably went along stripping everything off and my mother must have caught me halfway dressed before going to church.

But she missed a spot: p

Which leads me to one thought.

When do we, as children, see that boys and girls “have” to dress differently? We see little kids stomping around naked all the time. They can’t WAIT to get their clothes off.  

For kids it’s completely natural. 

And yet we get upset at little girls and tell them to go back in the house and get dressed while the boys run around half naked (if not completely.) Who made these rules?

A society that shames women.

A society that teaches women to be ashamed of their bodies, whatever the size…

So, when do girl’s bodies start to be sexualized and why are they shamed about their bodies? Why can boys AND men run around without a shirt on completely topless with their junk hanging out? (Doesn’t matter what they weigh either)

Why do too many judge women for being comfortable in less clothes? Just because a woman wants to feel comfortable in what she wears ( A bikini, clothes, whatever) and a guy who is wearing a speedo or shorts... who gets sexualized?

The woman!

I think we’ve been conditioned for too many years to be this way.

Hell, in Europe, women DO go topless. Here is my question… Why can men be comfortable, but women aren’t allowed? 

When do women start being sexualized and shamed about their bodies? Practically from the womb…

I don’t know if it’s worse in America, or not…but I have to wonder about it. What is the DEAL? (I would LOVE hearing about that in the comments below as I haven’t been overseas yet) 

Not long ago I saw a picture of a friend where everyone round in circles that got smaller and smaller…I looked at that picture for a second…ALL of them were completely naked. The only thing I could think was WOW…the FREEDOM in that picture…no one was ogling…everyone just looked comfortable with themselves. Everything in life does NOT need to be sexual. Everyone looked like they were just comfortable in their own skin. And I thought WOW, to be like that!

To illustrate my point on how women are treated, I give you this:

Last weekend I went to a park as a friend I consider a very gifted piano player had invited me to sing at a music in the park gig he had with his piano.

He had invited some friends, and we were all hanging around outside. One guy I didn’t know was playing a drum with some drumsticks sitting on a bench behind me.

It was hot as Hades outside, and I wore what I was comfortable in. ( A blue miniskirt with pants underneath- it was so hot I had considered not wearing pants with it, but I rolled up the pants into shorts, and had a halter top on…not that it matters… it doesn’t. )

Well that random drummer guy who I had just met (A complete stranger) stuck a drumstick from the drum he  played literally up my skirt when I wasn't looking. I was enraged…but at first I just cracked a joke (after all isn’t that what women are taught to do? Make men feel comfortable even when we are NOT? ) I was standing in front of an upright piano singing and my back was turned...(later on I found out the guy next to him had been egging him on saying "get it on" and this lady kept telling him to stop- he actually did it 3 times! He must have been doing it in a why that I couldn't feel it... maybe under my skirt but in the air at first and then got brazen enough to pull what he did)  I consider what he did assault... I thought “HELL NO” This is NOT OK!  I was singing and I turned around and ripped him a new one. I said “Don’t you fucking touch me." That is NOT ok. 

Then he tried to make excuses…and said” lets just play music” Like what he did hadn’t even happened.

 I said “NOT AFTER WHAT YOU JUST DID! No more mansplaining…. and there is no excuse whatsoever for what you just did”. I am not putting up with it”. 

Then he tried to explain it away even more saying:

“It could have been a dick.” 

Ok, I was LIVID now. 

I said “just because a woman is comfortable with her own body and wears what she is comfortable in, just like you can run around without a shirt, I should be able to be comfortable without being assaulted. 

You see how messed up this is??? 

I wish I would have said “guess what? Your hands that are on that stick, or on your “junk”??  YOU are the one who has control of it, and if you chose to “do” anything with it YOU are the one responsible. Not me.

Anyway, he finally just left…

Afterword’s someone (one of the ladies there) told me that the guy was putting out the drumstick pretending to catch my scarf that was dangling but where my scarf is and my skirt is are very definitive thank you ( I still can't believe she excused him... it's sad when women make excuses for men because it just enables them to continue harassing women and therefore lets the guy off- this is exactly my point.) 

Here is where the HUGE problem is…women either pull together- and when they do, it is an amazing thing to see- or they  can turn into a mob, excusing and letting men get away with murder…this mentality of letting men off for whatever despicable behavior needs to STOP.

Those that really know me, can probably figure out how and why I responded the way I did..

It doesn't matter to me what other people think... I don't wear things that make me feel comfortable for other people... I wear it for me because it feels good  (since I was Mormon and have covered up for most of my adult life- for the first time ever I have been able to feel the sun on my shoulders!)  I am wearing what makes me feel comfortable... I'm learning to become comfortable with my body despite what the Mormon churches bigoted idea of women has been.  And nothing pisses me off more than people acting as if I dress for them and not myself...( men have actually said things to me as if I was made to dress for them- There is nothing more arrogant than any male who thinks the ultimate reason I am wearing something pretty is for them. It makes me want to tell them off.)

So…men take note...just because a woman is comfortable in their own body just like you are without a top on a hot day (Or whatever you wear, or don't) don't automatically assume (which makes and ass out of you and me:p) that they are "easy".  If a woman wears a sun dress that has a bit of a lower back it doesn't mean they want to be touched by a man... on their arms, back or anywhere at all if you are behind them. WHY do some of you automatically think its ok???

This has happened numerous times, and it annoys the hell out of me. I don't like it. This happens where I work out in the pool at the gym too. WTH??? Its not ok. I OWN MY BODY, NOT you. 

There are times it feels like some men act like they own women’s bodies to do with what they like, and this is NOT ok.

There is a guy I know  that does it in front of their wife, even where he stands in a way that his wife can't see him do it where it’s even worse. This has been happening off and on and I've had enough. I may not haul off and hit him, but he is going to get a piece of my mind if he doesn’t stop, and I may not be polite next time. I do NOT like being touched. (By men anyway who aren’t my husband... women I'm cool with.) By the way this older gentleman touched me and then while I was in my dress hanging out with the ladies in a room and he is well liked there, don't they see what he does???)

I have a friend who had this to say about how women are treated:

"It's only some men, and yes, they touch you on your skin and that's so inappropriate!!! Its so creepy!! A guy that's trying to flirt with me will be very delicate about it and I may have signaled that I'm flirting, and that's welcomed. But when I'm just present, talking, not flirting, don't fucking touch my skin! It's molesting feeling. Most men aren't given any signals anyway that they can touch me, anywhere.”

The thing that bugs me the most is that I feel like I need to be polite about touching (There’s that making men feel comfortable despite my discomfort thing again that women are so good at. Ug!)   but I don't want to alienate any of the women I know where I frequent (most of them are older ladies where I am are all pretty old school- .which means some are the type to pretend there is no problem- which ADDS to the problem- (there is a guy at this place I frequent that sits in a certain area and stares at me- till I move out of eye shot of ...he looks women up and down...not just at me, but at the other ladies too- I called him on it and he finally stopped-(its just creepy)

I heard that the ladies I know there  talked about it at some breakfast and they had decided that it really wasn't a I stood up for them for nothing....though I would still do it again, especially since he stopped doing it. Why is it too often that women don't stand up for each other?) 

Now that I have been thinking about it, I’ve been looking into different things and I am thinking I need to stand up for myself, but I wonder…as a child, having to always defend myself, did I feel everyone was out to get me? Is this what’s happening now in some ways? Why do I even have to question myself about it? (YAY, being a woman is so confusing sometimes:p)

In life now, do I need to keep up a wall, or can I take it down? I don’t know.

(My husband and I were talking- here’s what thoughts came out of that below)

A few days later, I was recounting the experience of the guy sticking that drumstick where the sun don’t shine with a friend at the Gym and her husband sat in a chair close to her as I was recounting the story…. His wife said "well, men just can’t control themselves."

Oh boy.

Now what if they had a son and daughter and they had been standing there with them?

What lesson would they have learned? The boy would have learned that “it’s ok to act like an imbecile”.
 “Men will be Men” also equates to “Boys will be Boys”... And what boy wouldn’t want to hear  “Hey do what you want, stick that thing where you want, take what you want, because you just can’t control yourself, and no one will blame you, cause it’s just in your nature, because, hey, you’re a Man!!!???”

And what of the daughter standing by? What lesson did she just take in? “Hey, don’t get mad when he puts his "stick"  up your dress, because he just can’t control himself.”

It’s bad enough as a child, and when she grows to be woman, and someone does it to her, or worse.

 “Oh, it’s ok, because, Hey, he’s a Man!!! And they just can’t control themselves”. “Oh, don’t tell on him, because it’s my fault, I was asking for it, because, hey, he’s a man.”

When that daughter is a mother, what do you think she will teach her children? And when she is a grandmother? What does she tell her grandchildren? But don’t worry; she is probably just reinforcing what their mother is teaching them, what she herself taught their mother…

Do you get it? It’s perpetual, and reinforcing.

So, what are you teaching your children? Who are you excusing?

I think there is a word for this, it’s called enabling.

But it all comes down to this… What are YOU teaching your children? Your Sons AND Daughters?

So in FIN, you have to ask yourself this question, what perpetual lessons are you leaving for MANkind? (hmm.. I mean humankind), what is your Legacy? 
Choose the lesson WELL. Tomorrows generation of women may suffer because of it…or not.

Its all up to you.

The BEST Ted talk I have ever heard on men standing up against violence. ABSOLUTELY worth watching Because its a MEN'S issue, not a woman's issue

The BEST Ted talk I have ever heard on men standing up against violence. ABSOLUTELY worth watching Because its a MEN'S issue, not a woman's issue (Typically, yes. There is a VERY small portion where is is the other way around)

I have been working on a blog that needs addressing, this one is taking a while as it is VERY important to me to get this out right, but for now, this will suffice...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Note On The Mormon Church And The Letter They Are Going To Read Sunday To Congregations All Over The World About Gay Marriage...SHAME On You!

I am SO glad I have left the mormon church after some of my friends have leaked this letter so I don't have to listen to this drivel. (Yes, some who are in presidencies and congregations have let people know that this will be read in church Sunday as there are those that are NOT happy about it.... ) The letter is below 
I can NOT stand to see my gay brothers and sisters treated in such a way and I am glad I will not be sitting there- I would get up and walk out... there are people in those congregations who are gay and are no doubt feeling betrayed enough and hurt by the mormon church, whether it was through prop 8 or the calloused disregard for so many's feelings that are not being thought of when this letter is read this Sunday. I hope there will be no one there who will contemplate suicide over the shameful display of arrogance in this letter. When they wrote the P.R letter about Ordain women, it gave members licence to treat those of Ordain Women WORSE. (I wrote about that here) )

What will this do?
SHAME on them.
For all of those who have been cast out, downtrodden and for those who have lost their lives (through suicide and hate crimes) in this so called "labor of love" It is NOT ok. WHY is it so hard to let people simply be WHO they are??? Where the HELL is free agency and LOVE??? (Something the mormon church is supposed to be big on)
I am disgusted by their so called "righteous anger".
I am so sorry that I was ever a part of this church  that have hurt so many. (Just so you know- I have not believed any of that judgmental crap that has been thrown around...I got a LOT of bad treatment for my marriage equality sign on my lawn, but I have never hidden from anyone how I felt.) May there be many more like me and my brothers and sisters who really, truly CARE. I CARE damn it. That's why this rips me up.
Copied from Amy:
"I am probably going to tick a lot of people off with this status so proceed with caution.
"For much of human history, civil laws have generally been compatible with God’s laws. Unfortunately, there have been notable exceptions to that pattern." (cue talk about abortion (i.e. women's body autonomy) and same-sex marriage)
I'm sorry, but only a privileged, white, upper-to-middle class, cishetmale could have written these words. We are aware that for much of human history:
- women were property
- a woman was required to marry her rapist
- slavery was legal and lauded
- the segregation of whites and blacks was protected by law
- the ruling class literally owned the peasants and underclass
- killing of homosexuals was legal
If that's the God y'all are interested in upholding, have at it. As for me and my house, we're not. I'll stick with the radical Jesus who spoke against the righteous in their own eyes, protected the adulteress, elevated the poor, and redeemed the oppressed, thank you very much."

I add my favorite picture I took of an old hippie car here in Seattle in a nod to Amy's thoughts (Its the main pic on my Facebook page)